Looking for a B2B sales job? The 4 questions you need to ask yourself


Whether you’re actively looking for a new sales job or just passively seeing what else might be out there, trying to figure out which B2B sales role is right for you can be a frustrating and confusing activity.

Never fear, Ideal Candidate is here to provide some clarity with 4 questions you need to ask yourself when looking for a B2B sales job.

1. What traits can I leverage if I’m brand new to sales?

You might be a new grad just starting your career or maybe you’re looking to make a transition into sales. That’s great because sales is one of the most rewarding (and lucrative!) jobs out there. But even though prior work experience is one of the weaker predictors of future job performance, a lack of sales experience is going to be a turnoff for most employers.

So when it comes getting your first B2B sales job, here’s my tip: Think of yourself as a valuable product or service and your potential employer as the prospective customer. Be honest with yourself when assessing your strengths and weaknesses. Express your ability to be a quick learner and prove you already know a lot about the industry. Study up and then sell yourself!

Which personality traits this requires

You need to be empathetic enough to understand potential employers’ desires and needs and hardworking enough to convince them of your value.

2. Do I want to work for a Big Company or a startup?

Here’s what you get with a Big Company sales job: name recognition, a product/service the buyer already knows he or she needs, and a well-oiled and established sales process with lots of resources.

Here’s what you get with a startup sales job: an unknown name, a product/service the buyer might not even know he or she needs, and a reiterating sales process with limited resources. While that might not sound too attractive, you also generally get more autonomy, responsibility, and intellectual challenge at a startup.

Which personality traits this requires

Data has found that compared to employees at Big Companies, employees at startups are unique in their higher level of risk taking. Being adaptive enough to weather all the small and large pivots that happen at an early-stage startup doesn’t hurt either.

3. Do I want to be a sales hunter or a sales farmer?

In general, a hunter sales job requires prospecting leads – often through cold calls – and closing deals. A farmer sales job, on the other hand, requires managing and growing existing accounts. Keep in mind that many sales jobs require both types of responsibilities.

Which personality traits this requires

Research has found that sales hunters tend to be promotion-focused (i.e., getting a win): creative, optimistic, and risk-taking whereas sales farmers tend to be prevention-focused (i.e., avoiding a loss): attention to detail, analytic, and problem-solving.

Salespeople who can switch between a promotion focus and a prevention focus have been found to generate the most sales revenue.

4. Do I want to be a BDR or an AE?

B2B sales jobs are becoming more and more specialized these days.

business (or sales) development rep is a hunter role that primarily requires you to prospect leads. This is probably the best sales job for those looking to start their sales career.

An account executive, which can be either an inside or an outside sales role, primarily closes deals. Generally, an account executive sales job requires more sales experience.

Which personality traits this requires

Whether it’s a BDR or AE sales job, you’ll definitely have an advantage if you’re adaptive, empathetic, competitive, and driven to learn and achieve.

The takeaway

Take the time to set your goals and plan your ideal career path. Be honest with yourself in what you are looking for. Consider your desired lifestyle, workplace, risk tolerance and responsibilities as you search for roles. Use a sales personality assessment such as Selling IQ to find out more about your unique strengths and selling style. Good luck!

Are you looking for a sales job? Use Ideal Candidate and let the employers come to you. Find your match and make more money. Sign up now!

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Ji-A Min

Ji-A Min

Head Data Scientist at Ideal
Ji-A Min is the Head Data Scientist at Ideal. With a Master’s in Industrial-Organizational Psychology, Ji-A promotes best practices in data-based recruitment. She writes about research and trends in talent acquisition, recruitment tech, and people analytics.
Ji-A Min